Swipecart is now for sale on all 3 target platforms! I will probably spend a few days taking it all in and then start writing all about the experience in depth, but for now here are links to the store pages.
So first off, the trailer for Swipecart is out!
Here are a couple of gameplay videos as well since why not.
As a way to get a bit of additional exposure, I’ve also launched a greenlight page. I have no idea what to expect since this isn’t the typical target game for this audience, but maybe it will stick in some people’s heads.
That’s all for now. Still desperately trying to finish the game!
The long awaited new beta release of Swipecart is finally done after I crunched down trying to finish up all the tracks for the final game. There are numerous improvements including:
- Smaller file size due to music compression
- Ghost racers to compete against when trying to improve your times
- Improved tutorial and intro experience
The full game will (hopefully) be released May 8 2014 for PC (undecided on which channels yet), iOS, and Android.
So after a long winter hibernation I decided to emerge to reveal a few more details about the upcoming release of a beta build of the game with a few enhanced features and access to the second world. I also have set a release date target that I’m very committed to hitting, so I will get that out of the way first.
May 8 2014 is the tentative release date for the initial PC, iOS, and Android versions of Swipecart
The final game will feature three worlds and depending on the reception it gets the plan could be to periodically add more worlds with more obstacles. Keep in mind the game has a very intuitive level editor and tracks can be uploaded and shared so anyone can play them. The number of official tracks at release is around ~60 but user created tracks could add dozens if not hundreds more eventually.
Now for something cool that I’ve been wanting to add since the very beginning of the game, in the spirit of competition of course.
Yes, you can now race against yourself when replaying a track over again. This can be quite useful for getting a better time and in general just seemed like a fun idea to implement. Now of course getting gold medals should be difficult, but having a little competition to drive you to improve helps just a bit.
The build should be ready soon for a beta release, just a bit of world 2 polish left, and then time to unleash the game on a few more folks. And then its onto the home stretch building a fiery volcano world for the final act.
So this time of year means next to no work gets done on the project (at least for me) so here is a small sampling of what has been added to the game.
Cannons! Inspired by the barrels in Donkey Kong Country.
The tracks for world 2 have been coming along nicely, and are nearly all functionally complete. Next is to to decorate and polish them and then it’s back to adding a few last minute features before concentrating on the home stretch.
Upcoming potential major things to be added:
- Sending items/money/gems between players
- Player Ghosts! (Race against your best times)
- Item set rewards
The plan is to finish up this round of features before going to beta and trying to promote the game/send to press and review sites. At this point 2/3rds of the content will be available, while the third planned world for the initial release can be worked on. If all goes well the aim is to be finished and ready to launch in April.
As a bonus here is a graph I decided to quickly throw together to get an idea on my player retention, and which levels may be too difficult and cause many players to quit.
I find it very interesting how many people actually failed to complete the first level of the game, either by it being too challenging or simply not compelling them enough to bother progressing. Its hard to say what the reason is, but out of approximately 800 people who bothered to actually load the screen to the main menu, 521 failed to log a time for the first track of the game. For some, it appears they failed to even hit play and have less than a minute or two logged into the game. I plan to do further analysis with the amount of time each user played, but for now, ignoring potential repeat profiles by the same IP address, over 500 people were not interested in playing level one. That isn’t a very good statistic, but there isn’t much I can do with it yet until I begin looking for more directed feedback on forums and other avenues. There is a somewhat steady decline in players each subsequent level as expected, with a few trouble spots where I see a lot of players dropping off. Its a small sample size so far, but every little bit helps when it comes to tweaking a game’s balance.
Thats all (probably) for this holiday season, so stay tuned to more updates in the new year.
There hasn’t been much exciting progress on Swipecart since the public alpha testing release. I’ve been in full grind mode trying to come up with more interesting puzzles and obstacles to keep your little dudes from the finish line. Its a real design challenge trying coming up with ideas that are fun yet challenging, and even more difficult is trying to constantly keep the player from becoming bored.
To keep you, the reader from getting bored, here are some track obstacles that are currently being implemented or are in the planning stages.
- Icy track that crumbles
- Rolling snowballs
- Slow pads/patches
- Reverse springs
- More snow
And here is a nice gif of what happens to ice when a half ton mine cart rolls over it:
Tantalizing! New screenshots will follow with the next update.
An updated version of Swipecart has been released that fixes several important issues and adds a few things to the current alpha release.
- Fixed exploit allowing the skipping of levels (oops)
- Fixed exploit allowing unlimited gems (double oops)
- Just plain took out all developer commands
- Added help button to editor
- Added portrait clicking and set swapping to the garage UI
- Added BATS
Get Swipecart Alpha v0.0.11a here for Windows PC.
In addition the HTML5 Browser version has been updated to 0.0.11a, though there are issues with syncing profiles with the web version. You may need to clear your browser cache to see the latest version.
Here are a list of things currently being worked on:
- Mailing items to other players
- Rewards for finishing collections
- A guided story/quest journal
- A score attack/infinite runner mode
Stay tuned for more updates on the current state of the game.
The Windows PC alpha release of Swipecart is finally ready to be thrust into the wild like a newborn animal, forced to survive for its rightful place in the indie game food chain. In other words, the alpha is available here and will henceforth be available from the main site. There are a few niggling issues that need fixing in a small hotfix update later this weekend and those changes will be documented in a later post, as well as a list of upcoming features and things that are being worked on.
Blog posting, commence! Its finally time to start writing stuff here about the progress of Swipecart. I’ve finally gotten around to setting up social media profiles for the project, as well as getting involved with promoting the game. I’m not afraid of the internet, I swear, just too busy. In other words, time to start whoring myself unceremoniously.
Clicking any of these wonderful buttons may possibly get you candy. Lots of candy.
Now for the part where I write about what Swipecart actually is. Its the crazy idea I came up with while waiting in the lines for rides at Disneyland. This was of course not the ideal time to brainstorm about a video game seeing as how I was on my honeymoon, but none the less as soon as I returned home I began prototyping a game about mine carts.
This is what Swipecart looked like after about a week of fiddling with box2d in Gamemaker Studio and finally getting the cart not to explode into a twisted mess with the wheels flying off at 200mph.
Note: Hitting lanterns, edges of track, angles larger than 15 degrees and anything else that may frighten the cart CAN result in the wheels deciding to detach sporadically and the cart to begin having seizures.
At this point it really wasn’t very fun. It was janky and pretty ugly to boot, but I thought the concept of building up speed and braking the cart at the exit could provide for some interesting gameplay and puzzles. I kept working for the rest of my post honeymoon vacation time, and even got my wife to help design the sprites that would become the basis for the entire concept. Once the cart movement had been smoothed out and the physics were actually starting to feel good, I knew there was something there. I should probably mention that this was the first video game project I had ever actually attempted besides the odd prototype, so I had no idea what I was in for.
Originally I had the notion that cute animals were the hot thing and the working title for the project was Minecart Moles. Each mole would have different abilities and allow you to complete harder and harder tracks. I don’t think people really like moles. I’m sort of indifferent to them, but besides having alliteration going for it, the concept was kind of weak. Then I had the idea to try and take the game semi seriously, and created the whole concept of a sport around racing mine carts in a tournament type setting. And thus Swipecart was born.
A year later, and this is where we’re at:
Stay tuned for more insights into how Swipecart got to where it is today, as well as updates on current and upcoming features being added.